De­pressed el­derly found to have low lev­els of vi­ta­min D

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DE­PRES­SION in older peo­ple could be due to vi­ta­min Dd­e­fi­ciency. A new study in the ArchivesofGen­er­alPsy­chi­a­try has shown that peo­ple with low vi­ta­min D lev­els have a higher risk of de­pres­sion. The find­ings sug­gest that in­creas­ing vi­ta­min D in­take through foods such as fish and dairy prod­ucts, or by tak­ing sup­ple­ments, could be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for de­pres­sion. Lev­els of vi­ta­min D were mea­sured in blood sam­ples from 1282 adults aged 65 to 95. Of th­ese, 26 had ma­jor de­pres­sive dis­or­der, 169 had mi­nor de­pres­sion and 1087 were not de­pressed. Vi­ta­min D lev­els were 14 per cent lower in those with ma­jor and mi­nor de­pres­sion com­pared with those with­out de­pres­sion. Fur­ther re­search is needed to de­ter­mine whether low vi­ta­min D lev­els oc­cur be­fore or af­ter the on­set of de­pres­sion. Arch Gen Psy­chi­a­try 2008;65:508-512 (Hoogendijk WJG, et al) WOM­EN­who quit smok­ing dras­ti­cally re­duce their risk of dy­ing from heart dis­ease or can­cer in the fol­low­ing five years, ac­cord­ing to new re­search in the Jour­nalof theAmer­i­canMed­i­calAs­so­ci­a­tion . Re­searchers stud­ied 104,519 women be­tween 1980 and 2004. In that time, 12,483 deaths oc­curred. Cur­rent smok­ers were nearly three times more likely to die dur­ing the study pe­riod than never-smok­ers. Com­pared with those who con­tin­ued to smoke, women who quit smok­ing had a 13 per cent lower risk of dy­ing from any cause in the five years af­ter quit­ting. The risk of dy­ing from lung can­cer was re­duced by 21 per cent in the five years af­ter quit­ting, com­pared with women who con­tin­ued to smoke. Twenty years af­ter quit­ting, for­mer smok­ers had the same risk of death as never-smok­ers. JAMA 2008;299:2037-2047 (Ken­field SA, et al) PAINKILLERS such as ibupro­fen may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s dis­ease, con­cludes a study in the latest is­sue of Neu­rol­ogy . The study found that long-term use of such non­s­teroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory drugs (NSAIDs) was as­so­ci­ated with a lower in­ci­dence of Alzheimer’s, sug­gest­ing that th­ese drugs could be used to pre­vent or de­lay the dis­ease. A to­tal of 49,349 men aged 55 and older who de­vel­oped Alzheimer’s dis­ease and 196,850 men with­out de­men­tia were in­volved in the study. Those who used ibupro­fen for more than five years were more than 40 per cent less likely to de­velop Alzheimer’s dis­ease than non-users. And the longer ibupro­fen was used, the lower the risk of de­vel­op­ing de­men­tia. The find­ings do not prove that NSAIDs pre­vent Alzheimer’s, say the au­thors, but they may pro­vide clues to how the dis­ease de­vel­ops. Neu­rol­ogy 2008;70 (Vlad S, et al) PREG­NANT women with high blood sugar lev­els — but not high enough to be con­sid­ered di­a­betic — are at greater risk of birth com­pli­ca­tions than women with nor­mal blood sugar lev­els. A study in the NewEng­landJour­nalofMedicine this week has found that a wo­man’s high blood sugar lev­els in­crease her risk of hav­ing an ab­nor­mally large baby and need­ing a cae­sarean de­liv­ery. The study also found that high blood sugar lev­els in­crease the risk of pre­ma­ture labour (be­fore 37 weeks of preg­nancy) and in­juries to the baby dur­ing birth. The seven-year study in­volved 23,316 preg­nant women whose blood sugar lev­els were tested be­tween weeks 24 and 32 of preg­nancy. The au­thors claim that all preg­nant women should have their blood sugar lev­els mon­i­tored through­out preg­nancy to help pre­vent birth com­pli­ca­tions. New Engl J Med 2008;358:1991-2002 (Met­zger BE, et al)

ANTI-DE­PRES­SANTS may help to ease the symp­toms of ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome (IBS) in young peo­ple, con­cludes a new study in the Jour­nalofPe­di­atrics . The study in­volved 33 pa­tients with IBS aged 12 to 18. They were ran­domly as­signed to re­ceive ei­ther the an­tide­pres­sant amitripty­line or an in­ac­tive placebo for eight weeks. Their IBS symp­toms — in­clud­ing ab­dom­i­nal pain, di­ar­rhoea and con­sti­pa­tion — and qual­ity-of-life were as­sessed be­fore the treat­ment pe­riod, and then at two, six, 10 and 13 weeks. Amitripty­line sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved over­all qual­ity-of-life mea­sure­ments com­pared to the placebo, and also re­duced ab­dom­i­nal pain and di­ar­rhoea. The dose of amitripty­line used for IBS treat­ment is much lower than that used to treat de­pres­sion, say the au­thors, and should be of­fered to ado­les­cents with IBS as it is to adults. J Pe­di­atr 2008;152:685-689 (Ba­har RJ, et al) Want to know more? Items are ref­er­enced where pos­si­ble. A ref­er­ence such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on pages 18-25 in vol­ume num­ber 35 of the pub­li­ca­tion, in 2007. A doi num­ber or web­site ad­dress is used for re­search pub­lished on a jour­nal’s web­site.

Smok­ing: Women who quit lessen the five-year risk of death by can­cer or heart at­tack

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